The Day the Earth Stood Still Special Edition Blu-ray review

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It’s no secret that the original The Day the Earth Stood Still, is one of my favorite sci-fi films of all time (SEE HERE). The film is the opposite of the current trend in high-octane, high-tech 3-D special effects-driven extravaganzas of today. The original film’s director Robert Wise, chose to focus on psychological drama and realism, which makes the film not only watchable today, but an uncomfortably addictive journey into the reactions of humans during catastrophic events. The high level of tension, builds into a fascinating mystery by the end of the film.

Based the short story Farewell to the Master, by Harry Bates, and script by Edmund H. North (Destry, The Lady Takes a Flyer, Patton, The Proud Ones) created a drama that Wise intentionally used a basis for in-depth character development. The Day the Earth Stood Still is as relevant today, as when is was released in 1951, with the nuclear arms race being replaced with terrorism.

The movie begins with a spaceship landing in Washington D.C., capturing the attention of the world. But the alien emissary it brings refuses to reveal his mission to any single government, leaving the military, the politicians, and millions of ordinary people to wait in fear. Soon their distrust turns to calls for violence. But one young woman and her son befriend him, and soon realize that they may be all that stands between the human race and total destruction. A powerful and simple story, which takes a back seat to character study and passionate plea to mankind. A must see, if you haven’t already – and a must see in hi-def, if you have.

The special features kick off with an eight minute preview of the remake that plays automatically when inserting the disc.

Two Audio Commentaries are contained on the disc, the first with director Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer (Star Trek II director). There’s a lot of great info provided, and it’s the historical signifigance of having director Wise do a sophisticated audio commentary, can not be over-stated.

The second commentary is by film and music historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg and Nick Redman and offering up fantastic anecdotes. It’s a great dissection of the various elements and themes of the movie.

Gort Command! is a Blu-ray exclusive game. It’s a J interactive experience that requires users to hit arrows on the remote to target and shoot soldiers and police officers.

The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin is a five minute featurette on the instrument that added a lot to the score.

The Main Title Live Performance by Peter Pringle is an exciting musical performance, and adds depth to the musical aspect of the Blu-ray presentation.

Another fun Blu-ray exclusive game is Interactive Theremin: Create Your Own Score, which allows you to create the Theremin by selecting from various notes to compose a 30-second piece of music to play over a scene from the film.

The Making of The Day the Earth Stood Still is a thorough, 24-minute historical commentary on the film

Decoding Klaatu Barada Nikto: Science Fiction as Metaphor is a look at the filmmaking era the movie was made and examines how movie-making in general fit into the nuclear arms race. History lover will really this short documentary.

A Brief History of Flying Saucers is a 30 minute documentary on flying saucer sightings, along with amusing commentary on archival footage and stills.

The Astounding Harry Bates is an interesting doc on Harry Bates, the author of the original short story the film is based on.

Edmund North: The Man Who Made the Earth Stand Still focuses on Edmund H. North, the screenwriter of the film, and contains anecdotes from his daughter.

Race to Oblivion: A Documentary Short by Edmund North is a half-hour original short film, featuring children singing about peace with footage of war as a backdrop.

Farewell to the Master is a great 1.5 hour audio feature with Jamieson K. Price reads the original Bates story story, against a spaceship backdrop. Price’s voice has masterful overtones.

Fox Movietonenews are clips from 1951.

The entertaining and thorough special features are topped off with a still gallery, along with two original movie trailers.

The Day the Earth Stood Still is an example of a vintage B&W movie that benefits from a 1080p transfer, with a crisp, clean print and great detail. It looks better than ever. Hollywood should take note to the historical preservation benefits of the Blu-ray format. The presentation makes these films palatable for young audiences of all types.

A new 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is provided and does a great job carefully mixing the quaint sound f/x and dialogue. The original mono track is also provided, along with Spanish/French 5.1 Dolby Digital audio with English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin and French subtitles.

Blu-ray Special Feature Breakdown:

  • New: Exclusive First Look At The New Movie The Day The Earth Stood Still Starring Keanu Reeves And Jennifer Connelly
  • New & Exclusive To BD: Interactive Theremin: Create Your Own Score
  • New & Exclusive To BD: Gort Command!: Interactive Game
  • Commentary by Robert Wise and Nicholas Meyer
  • New: Commentary by Film & Music Historians John Morgan, Steven Smith, William Stromberg and Nick Redman
  • New: Isolated Score Track
  • New: The Mysterious, Melodious Theremin
  • New: The Day The Earth Stood Still Main Title Live Performance By Peter Pringle
  • New: The Making of The Day the Earth Stood Still
  • New: Decoding “Klaatu Barada Nikto”: Science Fiction as Metaphor Featurette
  • New: A Brief History of Flying Saucers Featurette
  • New: The Astounding Harry Bates Featurette
  • New: Edmund North: The Man Who Made the Earth Stand Still Featurette
  • New To Disc: Race To Oblivion: A Documentary Short Written And Produced By Edmund North
  • New To Disc: Farewell To The Master: A Reading By Jamieson K. Price Of The Original Harry Bates Short Story; Audio Only
  • New: Interactive Pressbook
  • Fox Movietonews from 1951
  • Original Theatrical Trailer & Teaser Trailer
  • Advertising Gallery
  • Behind-The Scenes Gallery
  • Portrait Gallery
  • Production Gallery
  • Spaceship Construction Blueprints
  • Shooting Script

Movie Rating

Bonus Content Rating